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Bigos owns and manages 42 apartment communities in the Twin Cities and Duluth, including Kellogg Square, Galtier Towers, Lowertown Lofts and Mears Park Place in downtown St. Paul.
In addition, California-based developer John Fransen wrote to the city suggesting the site could attract a “major retailer not currently in [Minnesota].” Subsequent missives indicate the retailer to be Nordstrom, the upscale department store currently at the Mall of America and, soon, Ridgedale.
CCRP didn’t pop up in the city’s inbox until Aug. 1, when a mayoral aide reported that Sigurd Anderson had called and said he wanted to speak to Coleman about Macy’s. Anderson apparently didn’t talk to city officials until 11 days later, when Bedor — who went to college with Anderson — called him back.
By then, city officials were worried they might get a buyer with plans they wouldn’t like. On Aug. 8, Coleman, St. Paul Port Authority President Louis Jambois and other city leaders met to discuss a pre-emptive purchase of Macy’s by the Port Authority for $3.2 million, using bond sales proceeds. (The estimated market value of the building and land is $8.8 million.)
“We were thinking about putting together a number high enough so that if we got beat, it would more than likely be an entity that would do good things for that block,” Jambois said Wednesday.
But the Port Authority never got a chance to make an offer. Four days after the meeting, Anderson was identifying CCRP as “the buyer.”
Since then, city officials have given him information on the parking lot property across Wabasha Street from Macy’s and responded to Eric Anderson’s queries about the city-funded asbestos removal done at Macy’s in the early 2000s.
That $1.5 million grant was made to Target Corp. in 2001, along with a $6.3 million city loan to subsidize the store’s $20.4 million renovation. The city agreed to forgive the loan if the store remained open for 10 years.
Once that period was up, at the end of December 2012, Macy’s announced that the St. Paul store — typically a sluggish retail performer — was closing.